Saturday, May 21, 2016

America’s Raw Story
(A New Title)
6th Post

Under the Socioscope
The Badvantages of Bush and Obama

“Badvantage” is my term for any situation or circumstance that gives an advantage to bad behavior. Any president of America probably has more badvantages than any other living human being. 

In the previous post we put Bush and Obama under the psychoscope to understand partly why they do what they do. In this post we complete the explanation of their behavior by putting them under the socioscope to find their badvantages. As I see it, there are at least eight of them.

Seductive Positions

History is replete with leaders seduced by the powerful positions they held. Power is readily available to be exploited and abused. The U.S. presidency is certainly a seductive position, but its power, as with all seductive positions, is usually moderated to some extent by the relative strength s and weaknesses of the other badvantages and any countervailing forces.

Organizational Size

Bigger organizations have more power available to the organization’s leaders to wield and usually with impunity. Needless to say to America’s taxpayers and to the rest of the world, the U.S. government is the biggest national government in the world, and there are numerous mega corporations.         

Tall Organizational Structure

Large organizations like governments and corporations are hierarchies with “pecking orders.” People at and near the top do the ordering and people below follow them. The hierarchy is a perfect place to order wrongdoing to be done and then to blame it on people at the lower levels. 

Organizational and Social Culture

Culture, whether that of a government agency, a corporation, or that of a society is like an autobiography that says, “This is our history, who we are, what we believe, what we value, and how we operate.” Any U.S. president, like most people whether plebeians or potentates, operates within both an organizational and social culture and is influenced by it to varying degrees in varying situations.

As an illustration let’s consider first President Obama’s organizational culture and zero in on its most potent element, namely, his “shadow government” made up primarily of the CIA, the NSA, and the military.  His shadow government influences, if not sometimes predetermines his decisions if we can believe the authenticity of reports from various sources, a few of which I will cite here.

The reason why Obama blocked criminal persecutions of officials in the previous administration according to various sources is that he was worried that “the CIA, NSA and military would revolt” and he reminded his confidants of “what had happened to Martin Luther King,” an implicit allusion to the alleged  assassination arranged by the CIA. [18] If Obama did not also mention the assassination of President Kennedy under similar circumstances it was probably too discomforting for him to have done so.

From a few other sources have come reports that also seem to cast doubt on Obama’s unilateral authority. We learn, for instance, that   he told the vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who was whining to him about the CIA’s getting a disproportionate share of the war pie that “The CIA gets what it wants.” [19] And we hear indirectly from Senator Ron Wyden, member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and who reportedly has had “‘several spirited discussions’ with Obama,” that “It really seems like General Clapper, the intelligence leadership, and the lawyers drive this in terms of how decisions get made at the White House.” [20]

Not being privy to either Obama’s mind or to his inner circle, what are we to make of such reports?  Are Obama, and were his predecessors, puppets or puppeteers? What I make of it is simply that President Obama, just like the rest of us, does not live in a vacuum. He is not the sole reason why he does what he does.

Another part of Obama’s organizational culture of course is the political one in the form of the U.S. Congress. It is dominated by the party twins, Democrats and Republicans. Any U.S. president can count on any Congress being almost to a person war and spy hawks. If there were any doubts about these hawks and their dependence on the war and spy industries Chapters 4 and 5 ought to dispel them.  

Now let’s turn for a moment to Obama’s much larger context, the culture of the society in which he lives. It is perfectly suited for his position and its shadowy government for it is a sociopathic culture that not only accepts but expects endless warring and spying. [21] This second culture is a creature of the first but they feed off each other.

Upside- Down Incentives

U.S. presidents and corporate CEOs are addicted to them. An upside down incentive, as you can probably guess, is one that rewards bad behavior and/or punishes good behavior. The most egregious upside down incentive is the case of U.S. warriors-in-chief and their regimes never having to worry about being prosecuted as war criminals by the International Criminal Court to which the U.S. deliberately did not join. International war criminals these people are, stupid they are not.Another potent upside down incentive is provided by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that corporations (including those in the war and spy industries)  are persons and thus allowed to finance the campaigns of politicians, rendering them mouthpieces for their corporate patrons. 

Best or Worst of Times

The best of times, which stokes greed, tends to bring out the worst in human nature just as the worst of times, which stokes need, tends to do the same. Fortune 500 companies, for instance, tend to get into legal trouble more often when times are good. In the case of U.S. presidents, however, the worst of times is when they get more militaristic. The difference is that an American regime in its militaristic imperialism creates its own worst of times by turning potential friends into enemies. Nothing boosts its profits and power and distracts the home folks from domestic plight more than having an enemy or two or three. Making sure America has enemies is a very potent badvantage for a U.S. president. Think about it for a moment. The U.S. is thousands of miles across water and land from her enemies that wouldn’t be America’s enemies if America stayed at home. But when has her imperialistic regimes ever stayed at home?

Global Enticements

Globalization is the contemporary euphemism for imperialism or “global gobbling.”The globe is one giant opportunity for market expansion, resource exploitation and political manipulation by the more powerful nations, which helps explain why U.S. regimes try to be the most powerful of all. The prospect of installing or protecting dictatorships to protect U.S. corporate investments on foreign soil in the pretext of spreading and defending freedom is just too much of a temptation for CEOs and U.S. presidents alike to resist.

One of the most alluring global plumbs up for gobbling has always been oil. The engines of America’s corpocracy run on oil. That dependency goes a long way toward explaining American imperialism. Eventually there will be a worldwide desperate need for water that will replace oil.  

The Powerful Corpocracy and Its Allies

America’s corpocracy, the “Devil’s Marriage” between big government and big business, along with the duo’s allies are a gigantic, endless badvantage for all people in and associated with the corpocracy and its corporate driven political and economic systems, not just with the corpocracy’s warring and spying component. [22] They all feed off one another at the expense of the public. Large corporations, including those in the defense and intelligence industries expect and get countless favors and the subservient government’s politicians provide them in exchange for public office. It is truly a Devil’s Marriage.

There you have it, eight badvantages, and there’s absolutely no doubt that every one of them has tempted or pressured not only Presidents Bush and Obama but also their predecessors. The badvantages help explain and influence but do not exonerate their negative leadership (i.e., bad behavior and bad results for the common people). Leaders, like everyone else, despite the badvantages, are responsible for their own behavior and its consequences; that they never are held accountable can be blamed on the badvantages.

Closing Remarks and a Confession

Given their PMUs and GMUs revealed under the psychoscope of the previous post PLUS their socioscope is it any wonder that Bush and Obama do what they do? Understanding why, however, obviously should not excuse them (a subject for a future post).

Let’s consider for a moment some of my own past in light of a psychoscope and socioscope. Why did I accept a graduate school research position funded by an Air Force Grant? Why did I did I teach an introductory psychology course at an Air Force base? Why did I work for a year for a defense contractor right after graduate school? Why did I protest the Vietnam War silently while working for the US government?

The answers can be found through my own psychoscope and sociscope of my PAST for which I am now trying to make amends.

18. Swanson, D. Mark Udall and the Unspeakable. Dissident Voice, November 22, 2014.
19.  Coll, S. Remote Control: Our Drone Delusion. The New Yorker, May 6, 2003, 77.

20. Lizza, R. State of Deception: Why Won’t the President Rein in the Intelligence Community? The New Yorker, December 16, 2013, 48-61, 50.21. Derber, C. Sociopathic Society: A People's Sociology of the United States. Paradigm Publishers, 2013.  See also, Lewis, AR. The American Culture of War: A History of US Military Force from World War II to Operation Enduring Freedom. Routledge, 2012.

21. Derber, C. Sociopathic Society: A People's Sociology of the United States. Paradigm Publishers, 2013.  See also, Lewis, AR. The American Culture of War: A History of US Military Force from World War II to Operation Enduring Freedom. Routledge, 2012.

22. Brumback, G.B. The Devil’s Marriage: The Devil’s Marriage: Break Up the Corpocracy or Leave Democracy in the Lurch, Bloomington, IN: Author House, 2011.

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